With $294M, Kamen Hopes to Bring Regenerative Medicine “Up to Scale”

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and enable each of your magic pieces, your miracles of science, to become a reality? What are the tool sets you all need so that everybody can be moving quickly and we can make it so the FDA will accept our processes, and the medical community will trust what we’re doing as we start making these things?

The reason it’s hard to prioritize projects is like all decision-making, you look at a bunch of variables and make a choice. If it was a project that you said, “Dean, this is the lowest risk, easiest one to do. It will have the biggest upside. It solves the biggest need,” [then] of course we would do that one first.

But when you look at all these projects, it seems like the holy grail might be [generating] whole organs for people who are waiting for organs. It’s also the one that’s the longest-term, highest risk, and needs the most work.

And then at the other end, there are ones that we think are pretty simple, like being able to print cells into a liquid-like solid, and then monitor them properly to do things in three dimensions that used to only be doable in two dimensions in a petri dish. That’s a really big advance, in some ways. But it’s also relatively straightforward, and it could be used by a lot of our members. A lot of our industry partners are ready to start building the software and hardware to make it happen.

Let’s take small steps that will have some immediate wins and some milestones that show success and meet some needs. And we are trying to develop that plan right now.

But if you right now said, “Show me the roadmap and the list and the milestones for what you guys are going to do,” I’d say, “You’re welcome to get in the room and help us create that list, create those milestones, and give us that roadmap.” That’s the process we’re going through right now.

X: If you look at the industry partners in the initiative, some of them already have regenerative medicine research underway. How is this new program different from what they have already been doing?

DK: There’s already lots of basic research being done, and plenty of funding to support it and experts who know how to evaluate it. We’re not doing any of that. In fact, we continually remind ourselves that we will not get drawn into becoming a de facto alternative to other funding sources for basic research or creating these scientific breakthroughs. Instead, we say, “Look, we want to be a resource to all of these researchers. We want to build the appropriate tools and the appropriate processes to take whatever is their particular achievement and bring it to scale quickly.”

We want to have processes in place to deal with agencies like the FDA to make sure that we can effectively support, in the appropriate ways, all the stuff that needs to be done to get into and get out of clinical trials…to bring things to scale, to get quality up and cost down as we transition these things from science to industry. That’s the focus of what we’re going to do. We … Next Page »

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